HR Administration

HRCI Teams With Top Employers Institute to Throw Down Global Gauntlet at SHRM

By Rick Bell

Oct. 7, 2015

The HR Certification Institute and Dutch organization Top Employers Institute announced they’re joining forces.

In an Oct. 7 news release, the two organizations talk about their goal to meet the growing demand of global HR professionals, and I’m sure they would mention things like “synergies” and “changing the game” if you talked with them long enough.

After first thinking, “HRCI is joining up with whom?” what I like about this tie-up is that Alexandria, Virginia-based HRCI is taking its nearly two-year turf war with the Society for Human Resource Management for HR certification supremacy into foreign lands. HRCI, with the help of the Amsterdam-based organization, is planting its flag, so to speak, on overseas soil.

Read: "SHRM-HRCI Split One Year Later: Less Testy, More Testing"

In the release, HRCI’s CEO Amy Schabacker Dufrane says: “Our partnership with Top Employers Institute speaks directly to the future of HR — and business environments where exceptional HR professionals as well as exceptional HR practices are recognized as key drivers of organizational performance. Global employers recognize the return on investment that HRCI-certified practitioners provide. At the same time, organizations recognize the competitive advantage of certifying HR practices.”

The Top Employers Institute, which I’d never before heard of even though it has been in existence since 1991 and “globally certifies the HR best practices that employers have in place for employees to advance their development,” according to the release. “Optimal HR best practices ensure that people develop themselves personally and professionally. This, in turn, enables companies to grow and to develop. Top Employers Institute has recognized more than 1,000 top employers around the world.”

According to David Plink, CEO of Top Employers Institute, “HRCI’s respect around the globe coupled with nearly 40 years of demonstrated rigor and high standards of excellence in certifying HR mastery, knowledge and real-world application for HR practitioners made them the natural choice for Top Employers Institute. We see this partnership as a perfect opportunity to leverage the vision of Top Employers Institute, where we, like HRCI, believe in placing the highest value on human capital and people within an organization, which results in better performing businesses – ultimately connecting individual HR competency with organizationwide HR excellence.”

Read: "HRCI: Shut Out but Not Shut Up"

So, lots of synergy and game-changing going on here. As beneficial as this potentially can be to HRCI’s push to go global — or at least become more recognizable in Europe — perhaps this is a way for the European organization to make a foray into U.S. territory, too.

Will it make a dent in SHRM’s multimillion-dollar push to be the leader in global HR certification? Unlikely.

Rick Bell is Workforce’s editorial director. For comments or questions email

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